Age spots, freckles, sunspots, birthmarks and the mask of pregnancy are all forms of excessive skin pigment (dyschromia). Brown spots, or facial pigment, and red spots, blood vessels on your cheeks, around your nose and chin are signs of facial aging changes which are caused primarily by damage from the sun or inflammation. Formation of pigment by the skin is an attempt to shield your skin from the sun. Generally, after years of sun exposure , the damage becomes visible in the form of pigmented spots called age spots or freckles. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be used to treat this pigmentation.
Before and After IPL treatment of Facial Pigment. Courtesy of Palomar®
In the neck and chest area, called the declotte, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be used to treat hyperpigmentation in the form of freckles. Multiple treatment sessions are required. See below for a more detailed description of the procedure.
Before and After IPL treatment of the neck and chest (declotte). Courtesy of Palomar®
Inflammation in the skin, mainly from acne, may also produce dark spots of hyperpigmentation that may be difficult to treat. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). IPL can be used for the treatment of PIH.
We offer many very effective non-surgical facial rejuvenation techniques for the removal of brown spots and blood vessels from the facial skin, neck and chest. Simply removing brown spots, pigment, red spots and blood vessels from the facial skin can dramatically rejuvenate the face and will provide you with a more youthful appearance.
Before and After IPL treatment of facial pigment and vessels. Courtesy of Palomar®
Summary of treatments that can treat unwanted pigmentation:
Photo facial or IPL Therapy
Photo facial or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments have revolutionized the treatment of facial pigmentation and excess facial blood vessels. Results of Photofacial IPL anti-aging skin care treatments can be excellent. During a photo facial treatment you will wear dark glasses to protect your eyes, no anesthesia is required, and treatments are very brief. The photo facial or IPL treatment consists of a flash of light directed to the pigment or blood vessel. You will feel a brief sting which has minimal discomfort. There is no down time, only redness which is temporary and easily covered by make up.
Fractional Laser Resurfacing
Fractional Laser Resurfacing is also very effective in treating unwanted pigment and blood vessels. This treatment is more aggressive than IPL or photo facial and is usually reserved for treatment of pigment and blood vessels which fail to respond to IPL or photo facial treatment. You will wear protective eye wear during treatment. A topical anesthetic is applied before treatment, you will experience minimal discomfort and treatments are brief. Redness is greater than with the IPL and occasionally treatment areas are red for several days and occasionally skin peeling occurs. Read more about Fractional Laser Resurfacing for tightening the skin in our Laser section.
Skin Care Products
Skin care products, such as Obagi®, can dramatically improve hyperpigmentation from damage from the sun, melasma (irregular pigmentation or darkening of the skin that is hormonally driven), and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). The success of these products, and other similar product lines, is their content of the drug hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is an enzyme inhibitor that suppresses the formation of pigment in the skin by blocking conversion of tyrosine (an amino acid) to melanin. Read more about Obagi® in our skin care section.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment for pigmentation is considered cosmetic and therefore is not covered by insurance. The patient is responsible for payment.
The specific risks and the suitability of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment for pigmentation for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. Find out more about this popular procedure in Chevy Chase, MD, and the Washington, DC, area by calling Dr. Lynch.